KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health declared on Tuesday that 56 new positive cases of Covid-19 have been registered in Afghanistan in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 423.
Herat had the highest number of new cases, registering 27 positive cases. A further 12 cases have been confirmed in Kabul, 10 in Kandahar, five in Balkh, and two in Nangahar.
In a joint press conference with Presidential Advisor, Wahid Omar, the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Feda Mohammad Paikan said that 3031 coronavirus tests had been administered so far, of which 423 returned positive results.
Dr Paikan said that 385 of the infected patients are recovering well. He added that a small number of the patients who tested positive to Covid-19 are fully recovered, but unfortunately 14 patients have died.
Only 90 of the 423 infected patients had previously travelled abroad. Kabul, which currently has 73 confirmed cases of Covid-19, has only one patient with a history of international travel.
Expressing concern, Dr. Paikan said that the numbers of Covid-19 cases in Kabul are higher than previously announced as people who show symptoms are not presenting themselves at hospitals to be tested.
Dr Paikan emphasized the importance of people attending hospitals to be tested, should they show symptoms of Covid-19. He said that the Ministry of Public Health expects people who show symptoms of the virus to be responsible and get tested in order to reduce the risk of infection to other people in the community.
The symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, exhaustion, and a dry cough. Some people report eye pain as well. Should anyone have these symptoms, they should be tested. However, everyone needs to maintain good hygiene, wash hands frequently, adhere to social distancing regulations, and avoid unnecessary travel.
Dr Paikan said that there are currently 1,500 beds available for infected patients.
He emphatically warned the public that if people ignore the advice given by the Ministry of Public Health, more people will die. He said that people should take the advice given by the Ministry of Public Health seriously and obey the lockdown orders issued in Kabul and the provinces.
Presidential Advisor, Wahid Omar, said that while the government is taking steps to minimise the spread of the virus, every citizen must also take action to help prevent the virus from claiming more lives.
He urged everyone, in all provinces, to take a serious and active role in the fight against Covid-19. He added that sufficient equipment and financial resources have been allocated to the provinces by the Ministry of Public Health.
Mr. Omar announced that the government has allocated $25 million to the Ministry of Public Health. Of that $25 million, $15 million has already been spent by the Ministry in its efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19. He said that the Awareness Committee has spent over 27 million Afghanis (US$350,000) so far on campaigns designed to raise public awareness of the virus.
The Awareness Committee is operating transparently through the Administration Affairs Office, Mr Omar said. The Committee aims to educate people about the virus.
The conference ultimately served to remind residents of the vital role that they play in the fight against Covid-19. People should practice good hygiene, and take measures to limit the spread of the virus. While the government is raising awareness and supplying resources to fight against the virus, every citizen also has a responsibility to limit the spread of deadly Covid-19 in Afghanistan.